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January's Journal



27/02/2017
[18:10] It has been a good weekend, thanks for asking! With Rachel already at home there was someone to come home to, which is always lovely. She had lots to do though, so didn't finish work until gone 18:30. But that was OK as I could do Stuff until she was done. On Saturday she headed home to Croydon to play a hockey match and I jogged to parkrun with Max and Stacey, ran around it at a nice easy pace with a sub-17 minute parkrun person who was nursing an injury, then jogged home again. Tesco shopping and lunch followed in some order I now don't recall, then Rachel arrived towards evening time. And there was much rejoicing. On Sunday morning we headed out fairly early to our first official marathon of the year. While Rachel wasn't feeling totally on her game, I appeared to get my pacing (we ran together) and nutrition pretty much spot on and we finished in a time of 3:34 or so, which is slower than last year, but OK because last year the race was after the half marathon we're both hoping to do reasonably well in this year. In any event, we made it round the semi-off road course without too many issues (I have a callus and a blister on my right foot which are annoying me, and some chafe), and then headed home to eat all the things. An afternoon of relaxation followed, with even more food, drink, snacking, and Chinese delivery for dinner.

This morning Rachel again headed back to London, and I headed into work to do things with servers, including two different hard drive replacements (one of which took less than 2 hours from reporting a dead drive to getting a new one delivered and installed). Then it was a meeting over lunch, and an afternoon of Satellite CV publishing, and overloading the VMWare system asking it to clone six new VMs at the same time. I may have to come back tomorrow morning to see them finished and up and running. Also two more meetings this afternoon, and plenty of emails about configuring servers, users, and all manner of other things. This week has started quite busily.

24/02/2017
[16:20] The storm yesterday made the trains all kinds of problematic last night for Rachel. Couple that with a pretty bad day for her at work (at the end of a bad week) and she didn't arrive in a wonderful state, and late at that. I'd like to think I helped her get back on somewhat more of an even keel by the time we ended the day (which wasn't all that long after she arrived). By morning I think we were both feeling a little better. She made an early start on the working day (working from (my) home today) so that she could stop work early and go and do the last part of the heat acclimation experiment that I did mine of on Monday lunchtime. As far as I'm aware, she's there right now. I'll be leaving in about ten minutes to go and meet her so we can cycle home together. Then it's the weekend, hurrah!

On Saturday Rachel will head back to Croydon for the duration of a hockey match, teas afterwards, and probably getting clean at home, before coming back here again. Then on Sunday we're doing our first marathon race of the year. A fairly gentle (I hope) run which will give us a chance to work on our pacing, as well as nutrition and hydration strategies. Mostly I just want to not need to take a loo break while we're out there. Hopefully the weather will also cooperate. Somewhere in there I'll do a Tesco shop, and potentially a cycle to and from a gentle parkrun on the Saturday.

Work today has involved clearing my desk so it looks a little bit more usable, and spinning up three new VMs to install Oracle DB on (including doing all the Ansible stuff required). Other things include rolling back two HR-related KVM guests, and then doing exactly the same things I did to them as I did pre-roll back (don't ask). Hopefully things will be OK there. Sorting out my new copy of Outlook so the rules work a little more sensibly. Clearing down my inbox a little. Apologising for not managing to get some other stuff done, which is now top of my list of things to look at next week, once I've finished the stuff I didn't manage to get done today.

That, I think, is probably it.

23/02/2017
[17:20] It was quite windy this morning. This affected my run somewhat. Happily it didn't rain all that much, so that was nice. I made it to work where I somehow didn't manage to do most of the VM creations I was planning on doing today. I think I got them into the firewall and DNS, but the actual creation of them seemed to escape me. The day got away from me somewhat. I blame the two meetings I had immediately after lunch which pretty much broke the afternoon up into two useless-sized chunks. Anyway, I've got tomorrow to get some actual useful stuff done. Hopefully, between now and then Rachel will be able to get from London to here despite train disruptions. Which means I need to go home via Tesco for dinner things, then clean and tidy the house somewhat, put a wash on, and even have a bit of a snack before she - hopefully - arrives.

22/02/2017
[17:25] Lots done today, starting with a reasonable 1.5 hour run this morning. Not pushing very hard, not easing off either. It was nice to be able to run a significant chunk of the towpath with an 8+ beside me to keep my pace honest. At work I had a fairly quiet morning, broken only by a developer coming in to quiz me on stuff I don't really know much about. Basically a DBA/developer's in hospital for the forseeable future, and there's a service that needs a major update (or nobody'll get paid in April). This other developer has been handed the job and is looking at the "if I fell under a bus" document and panicking a little. I have to say, I'm not all that happy either, to be honest. Although my part in the upgrade is pretty much limited to updating the OS (and the firmware, where appropriate). Over lunchtime I cycled out in the torrential rain to earn a little bit of cash for doing one of the world's most boring psychology experiments, then cycling back again in the rain. I'm writing this having had my shoes and socks off all afternoon, and then having put wet socks and damp shoes back on again to cycle home. Also this afternoon I've re-set up my mail client, again, as I've had where it runs moved, again. Additionally I've confirmed I'm going to be in two meetings tomorrow afternoon (a record for me), built six new VMs and configured them, done all the firewall and monitoring stuff, and even figured out a few clever things for my own satisfaction with regard to building Apache modules for Oracle's version of it that comes with Apex. Now I'm going to go home and try and relax before tomorrow morning's run. Also, Rachel's coming tomorrow, yay!

21/02/2017
[17:10] For going to bed at what I thought was a reasonable time I had a hard time getting out of bed before 08:00 this morning. This lethargy then persisted all the way through the time at work before lunch. I was resigning myself to a pretty terrible 10K tempo run all the way up to and including the time I started my run, but arrived back at my workplace to have found I'd run about 40 seconds faster than my fastest ever on the same route (out of ten previous runs). This was something of a surprise, but nice to know given I don't think I at any time pushed myself to my absolute limit. I should probably bear this kind of performance in mind when running more slowly during training, and run more slowly more often. Like tomorrow morning's 1.5 hour run. Anyway, after I'd showered and got back to my desk things started to take off work-wise. Happily, I was able to field everything that people wanted from me and even come away with another grateful thanks email from one of my developer/DBAs. I'm ending the day with pretty much everything I needed to get done, done. Not only that, but I've got a pretty clear idea of what I need to be doing tomorrow, and there's a good chance two of the remaining RHEL5 servers, which are also Oracle hardware (ex-Sun) will be getting retired, too. Although that may not be tomorrow, but soon. I'm off home now, where dinner won't be as excellent as yesterday's leftover roast bits and pieces, but will suffice. The morning run should be moderately hard/moderately gentle, but hopefully dry above all.

20/02/2017
[17:25] I'd class that as a good weekend, I think. Rachel arrived on Friday evening, and there was much rejoicing. We met at the place I was getting a much-needed sports massage on my calves, which were (are?) in a bad way in terms of knots and things. We went home via Tesco and the did the big shop there and then so that we wouldn't have to go out again over the course of the weekend. Dinner was then fairly smashing... although for the life of me I can't remember what we had. Having just asked Rachel, she has reminded me that it was a selection of things from Tesco's meal deal range. Classy, I know, but nice and filling, thankfully.

Anyway, on Saturday morning we headed out to do the second 3x10km heat acclimation run we'd signed up for. It went fairly well, although after the week we'd both had we were both dragging somewhat towards the latter half of it. We finished it, though, and went home to get cleaned up and have a nice big lunch. Rachel headed out later on in the day to buy some new trainers, and happened to stop by Tesco to get us even more nice things to eat.

On Sunday we met up with Max and Stacey and then headed out to meet some people from their local triathlon club to run the route of the half marathon we'll all be doing in two weeks or so. It was a really nice way to get out with other people and not push too hard. We came back still feeling remarkably fresh, got cleaned up, and then had the remainder of the day watching old Sherlock and West Wing episodes, before Rachel pretty much single-handedly made a nice roast dinner for us both.

This morning she was then up at the crack of dawn (just before, I think) and on her way back to London. I was a little slower out of the gate, but nevertheless got to work in good time, and have done a useful day's worth of work, conversations, and even going to do the last bit of the heat acclimation study (another 30 min wattbike sweat session). Now I'm off home to suck the last bit of relaxation out of the week before the week's running starts (although I should be on a bit of a taper for this coming weekend's 26.2 mile 'race'). An added plus is that Rachel left me instructions on how to make another roast dinner this evening with the leftovers from last night, so that's wonderful. Just like she is.

17/02/2017
[16:40] A quiet evening with a huge dinner. An early night, and a moderate amount of sleeping in this morning has helped somewhat in restoring my energy levels a bit. But I'm still quite tired. Having a quiet day at work has helped too. I'll be having a similarly relaxing evening tonight by going home very shortly, then getting a sports massage, and then cycling home via Tesco for dinner with a very welcome Rachel who'll be meeting me in the foyer of the place I'm getting pummeled.

At work I walked someone through the VM building process I have (not the full-on Ansible bit, but the creating the instance stuff), as well as doing a really big desk/workspace tidy that means where I sit now looks like an adult works there, rather than a toddler. Also, if I didn't mention yesterday, I now have three monitors connected to my PC, so I'm swimming in screen real estate now.

Over the weekend Rachel and I will be doing the finishing run of the heat acclimation experiment we signed up for, then on Sunday we'll be running the route of a half marathon race we'll be doing soon to show some friends who're also doing it what it'll entail. Outside of running I would imagine there'll be plenty of eating, relaxing, reading, and sleeping.

16/02/2017
[17:10] Again, today's run was hard work. Very hard. I had resigned myself to running a good 2km less by running gently and without any pressure. But in the end I found I ran almost the same distance as I'd been expecting, although it felt incredibly difficult. I definitely need a day off tomorrow. And this was with eating well last night and this morning, getting quite an early night last night, and not really pushing myself anywhere else. Admittedly, I did have to get up early this morning so I could come in and patch two servers for software and firmware. Happily, both servers behaved flawlessly and I was done within 40 minutes of getting in just after 07:15. I've spent the rest of the day doing lots of other things too dull to detail here. Then I ran at lunch time. After that I was late to a meeting where I detailed what I've been up to for the last week, and after that I started the process of listing all of the switch ports I want moved from old-style switches to the new FEXes we have. But now it's home time, and possibly bed time.

15/02/2017
[17:30] Despite not feeling like I'd pushed all that hard during yesterday's 10K run, and going to bed at a sensible time last night, this morning's run was hard. I wasn't even going all that fast (aside from an attempt at two 1K bits of 'marathon pace'). I was quite tired almost from the off, and it was a 1.5 hour run. I'm going to take it easy again tonight, get up early for patching tomorrow morning, and then do a similar length run over lunch time. Hopefully the change of scenery/day/time of day will help.

Otherwise, once I got to work today there were plenty of small things to be getting on with, although it wasn't until after lunch that I ran into an issue I didn't immediately know how to fix. When I did eventually get what I wanted working working again it turned out I'd crashed all of the Oracle databases on the server I was working on. This, I think, meant my solution was non-optimal. I won't be doing that again. Luckily the server only hosts development databases, so I don't think anyone but the DBA and I noticed anything at this end of the day. I'm hopeful this bad karma won't affect me tomorrow morning when I'm patching/firmware patching and rebooting two live database servers. We'll have to see, I guess. I believe I have a solution if either of them goes wrong, but I'll still be doing them one at a time in case there are any issues.

No Rachel tomorrow as she's coming on Friday instead. And staying until Monday, hurrah!

14/02/2017
[17:40] It was really wonderful to have Rachel over again last night. I was able to go home, get the place looking a little bit more presentable, get the heating on, and be ready to start dinner as soon as she came in the door. We then settled down for a short evening before going to bed early enough so that it wasn't too much of a wrench to wake up at 05:40 this morning to get her on her way in time to get to London for a gait analysis. I'd said I'd get up when she did, but ended up staying in bed until 07:00 at which point I 'jumped' out, and got to work in time to then get over to one of the server rooms to power down a server, replace a stick of RAM, and get it and its guests back up and running again before 08:45. Which was nice. Since then I've finished preparing three new VMs for the Apex administrator to start playing with, done some Satellite work, gone for a remarkably good 10K run over lunch time, and even done a bit of furniture moving at the other end of the office. It's now time to go home and get another early night in preparation for tomorrow morning's 1.5 hour run before work. Oh, and I also took another look at the application form I need to complete for the running club I want to start and have realised I need a lot more people to be prepared to sign up for 'committee' positions before it'll be viable. Or at least England Athletics Affiliated-viable.

13/02/2017
[17:35] It was a good weekend, I think. Rachel and I ran long in the morning, folding in a parkrun in the middle of it. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten that Rachel likes to speed up for the last 5km or so (something I don't usually do), so she left me in her dust. I think it's something I should consider putting into my training plan. After we'd run quite a long way we wandered into town for a smashing brunch, got her hockey stick rewrapped, did a bit of reading in Waterstones (cafe's closed until the end of the month) and then went home (via a quite surprisingly-expensive Tesco shop). On Sunday we ran a lot shorter, and separately. My still quite new Garmin 230 GPS watch went quite mad at about 11km and I had to run somewhat more than I had planned to get it to register what I actually wanted. The track it produced on Endomondo/Strava was... interesting, to say the least. I really have no idea how far I actually ran in the end. We ate well pretty quickly after both getting home so that Rachel could head back to her house to prepare for some friends coming over for dinner. I stayed at my place, had tea and pie at Max and Stacey's whilest watching a bit of the rugby, and then went home to have a mishmash of leftovers for dinner.

At work today I've been all about creating new VMs for people, organising stuff for tomorrow (in early to do some maintenance), and generally catching up on a weekend's worth of work chores. Also doing the weekly Content View publishing on the Red Hat Satellite setup. I've discovered that doing half the CVs in one go, rather than all at the same time, probably speeds things up tremendously. And also leads to no major errors or warnings in the logs. Which is far nicer. Rachel's coming back again tonight (she's wonderful like that), so I need to head home and make sure the house is nice and warm and tidy. She needs to leave super-early tomorrow morning, so I'll get up with her, but probably not leave when she does.

10/02/2017
[16:45] Rachel arrived very late last night, but that was fine as we got to wake up together. She's working from (my) home today. I'm heading home shortly, even if she won't be finishing work for another half an hour or so after I get back. Today I've done a few housekeeping tasks mainly. Stuff to make sure things keep ticking over smoothly. Also I've been downloading documents and forms for starting a running club. It's a bit more involved than I had anticipated, and it might not even happen... Well, the affiliation part anyway, the club itself can be formed easily enough.

This weekend Rachel's here until Sunday afternoon. She's going home to have a dinner with friends at her house. It'll be a bit odd saying goodbye to her in the middle of a weekend day, but that's how it goes this weekend. I intend to try and run 20 miles or so (including a parkrun) tomorrow morning, and then somewhat less on Sunday morning. I don't know if Rachel'll be joining me for either of them, or all of them. We'll have to see. Otherwise I'll be recovering, eating, or grocery shopping.

09/02/2017
[17:30] It was actually quite nice to get up only moderately early, knowing all I had to do was come into work and patch one server. Of course there was the worry that it would brick itself like the last one did, but it didn't. In fact everything went perfectly. I think I have a way to patch the remaining two (live/production) database servers a week from now without panicking too much now, too. So there's that. Otherwise the day was about getting ducks in rows for other stuff, doing a fairly solid (but with a bit of a need to push to keep the flatish pace towards the end) 1.5 hour run over lunch, which then became a rush in the shower so I didn't miss the early-afternoon team meeting. Everything worked out OK (although I did have to wait for the meeting to be over before I could have lunch), though.

Now I'm heading home for a relaxing evening of knowing I'm not running again until Saturday morning (it'll be 20 miles, with a parkrun in the middle of it), Rachel will arrive late this evening and help massage away the stiff neck muscle I developed just before I started running, and that tomorrow morning I don't have to be up before a normal, sensible hour. So that's nice.

08/02/2017
[17:05] Today started with a reasonably good 1.5 hour run. I didn't feel all that positive going into it, and it was dark, and the tow path had lots of puddles which interrupted my stride a bit, but I still managed a reasonable distance nevertheless. Lots of coughing at the end because of the cold I'm still getting off the end of, but all in all it wasn't too bad. I'll be doing tomorrow's over lunch time as I've got to be in early to patch and reboot a server tomorrow morning (with every chance of it throwing its toys out of the pram in much the same way that one of its sister machines did a few weeks ago). So, some of today was spent getting that ready to go. Other parts of the day were spent clearing my inbox down somewhat by sending a flurry of emails to lots of people, basically batting balls back in to other people's courts. And lastly I did some honest-to-goodness systems administration and built a VM for someone and prepared a workstation for a new starter. That's about it, I think.

I'm actually going to try and leave within the next two minutes to get home at a sensible time for once. Then I'll get just as early a night as I did last night and hope for a bit better/less interrupted sleep than last night was. I seem to be having some very weird dreams in the first half of the night at the moment. I hope that having Rachel around tomorrow night will help with that. It usually seems to, which is nice. Although I did take a look at house prices in my city yesterday. That's a nightmare I don't think I'm going to wake up from any time soon at all...

07/02/2017
[17:35] Got up, did some work at work, went for a hard 10K run at lunch time (which turned out to be a minute slower than the same run two weeks previously, disappointingly) with (I believe) reduced lung capacity and an extra layer to get hotter (the heat acclimation thingy). Then back at my desk I did more work. Not a lot else has gone on today.

And now I'm going home. Tomorrow morning I'll be doing 1.5 hours of running before work. I hope. Then there might be some installing of new linux VMs. But we'll see.

06/02/2017
[18:25] My cold really took hold over the weekend. This meant that both of my 'long' runs weren't anywhere near as long as I would have liked them to be. Saturday's still incorporated a parkrun, but was only 16km or so rather than 24km or so. Sunday's was only 13km or so rather than 21km. Rachel, on the other hand, was in fine form and threw out a solid 34km or so effort on Sunday morning. Otherwise it was a nice weekend. After the run on Saturday I discovered that in my cotton-wool-headed funk at parkrun I'd dropped my barcode, so once I'd staggered home (another 5km) I changed into dry kit and cycled all the way back to ask if it had been handed in. They said no, but later on in the weekend after I'd asked on the parkrun Facebook page they said it had been handed in. This is good as it means I don't have to try and get a new one laminated at work. Anyway, after I got home again and had a shower I ended up getting back into bed as I think my body wasn't all that happy at the energy expenditure on top of having a horrible cold. Eventually I got up again, had lunch and then did a Tesco shop. Rachel arrived in the evening and all was well. Sunday, after we'd done our own runs, was mostly about not doing much at all, and enjoying that.

Today I've mostly been struggling with how buggy and lumbering Satellite is, and discovering how many things I can do with it at one time before it falls over in a heap. This has lead to at least three more new Bugzillas being opened as well. We'll see how they go.

03/02/2017
[13:20] Last night wasn't all that great for Rachel, I don't imagine. I was full of cold and really not up to much. I also probably disturbed her a lot in the night blowing my nose. I didn't want to come in this morning but I really had to show willing and get some more Satellite stuff done. I have done that, so I'm going home now.

I've not idea if I'm going to be running over the weekend. I certainly want to, but I'm not sure if my body does, especially if I'm going to be doing the heat acclimation thing. Rachel'll be coming to town on Saturday evening, which is smashing. Anyway, off now. Have a good weekend.

02/02/2017
[17:55] Stuff it, I'm tired, I have a cold, and I can't be bothered to do a coherent entry. Got up early, did my run. It was hot, slower than yesterday (as planned), but I did it. Got to work, did work, moved a load of servers to Satellite (missing a meeting in the process, but that didn't matter). Discovered a whole new set of failure modes for subscription-manager. Nearly crashed both load balancers in the process of trying to get them subscribed to Satellite. Cold suddenly took control of my sinuses, now feel pretty grotty. Going home and looking forward to Rachel arriving in a bit, even if I'm in no real fit state to be all that awesome for her (which upsets me quite a lot). Imagine I'll be in work tomorrow, but very glad I'm not running.

01/02/2017
[17:25] And so we're into February already. I say it so many times, but time really does go by so quickly these days. Anyway, I was up early for a 1.5 hour run, which was both hot (I'm doing the heat acclimation thing), and tiring. I think the tiring was due to the extra layers, and potentially starting to come down with a cold as well. In any event, I got it done, which is all that counts. I'll be doing the same thing again tomorrow, but more slowly (so the same amount of time, just less distance) rather than overtrain/kill myself. With luck (like this morning) it won't rain, and hopefully the tow path by the river will be a smidgen less waterlogged, too.

At work we had a VMWare host go down, only not really, so the guests on it weren't migrated elsewhere. Until we powered down the host manually. Luckily, the guests on it weren't production ones, so no-one really noticed. Or no-one we care about anyway. This was during the very first meeting of my new team. I'd forgotten just how much I hate meetings, and this one was a prime reason why. Although I did get some work to do off the back of it. Not work I'm especially keen on doing, but honest-to-goodness work nevertheless. I'll start on it next week, I think. At the moment most of my time is taken up getting servers moved across from Red Hat Subscription Manager to our local Satellite instance. It's going... well, I think. I'm discovering more wrinkles and foibles as I go along, but that's OK; it's a learning experience. I'm going to try migrating a big collection of hosts tomorrow, via Ansible. That should be interesting...

Before that though I'm going home, having dinner, sleeping well (I hope) and then going for a run before work tomorrow morning.